Amid the Coronoavirus shutdowns, many sports leagues and stars have taken to social media to respond to the killing of George Floyd, the topic of police violence and the protests and reaction to those protests.
Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan’s op-ed was the most comprehensive statement by an NFL owner. On Saturday as protests were held across the country, the NFL posted this on their social media channels:
Not every team chose to make a statement on social media. Two franchises remained silent. The Bengals and the Cowboys.
By my count, every NFL team social media account has addressed the protests against police brutality, to one extent or another, except two: the Bengals and Cowboys.— Ben Fischer (@BenFischerSBJ) June 4, 2020
It should be pointed out that the Bengals No. 1 draft pick, quarterback Joe Burrow did make a statement on social media:
The black community needs our help. They have been unheard for far too long. Open your ears, listen, and speak. This isn’t politics. This is human rights.— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) May 29, 2020
Major League Baseball tweeted out a re-affirmation of a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to racism.
Major League Soccer tweeted out support of American soccer star DeAndre Yedlin, who had earlier tweeted about his grandfather saying that he was glad he wasn’t living in the United States right now because of fears of policy brutality against minorities.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson took to Instagram in a video to ask the president for more leadership, saying, “Where is our compassionate leader? The leader who unifies and inspires our country at our most painful time when we need it the most.”
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Our country is crippled and on its knees, begging to be heard and pleading for change. Where is our compassionate leader? The leader who unifies and inspires our country at our most painful time when we need it the most. The leader who steps up and takes full accountability for our country and embraces every color in it. The leader who picks our country up off its knees and says you have my word - we got this - and together, change will happen. Where are you? Because we’re all here. Maybe one day that galvanizing leader will emerge. Either way, the process to change has already begun. #normalizeequality #blacklivesmatter
But perhaps no athlete has been embroiled in more controversy than Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who said in an interview on Yahoo! Finance, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States,” Brees began, adding that the national anthem reminds him of his grandfathers, who served in the armed forces during World War II. “In many cases, it brings me to tears thinking about all that has been sacrificed, and not just in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.”
On Thursday, Brees apologized, but not before a number of current and former NFL players fired back on social media. Also responding, NBA superstar LeBron James.
WOW MAN!! 🤦🏾♂️. Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of 🇺🇸 and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those https://t.co/pvUWPmh4s8— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 3, 2020
Brees’ apology was well received by his Saints teammates, including DeMario Davis, who said this on CNN on Thursday.
Drew Brees' teammate, Demario Davis, reacts to his apology: “For him to come out and say ‘I missed the mark’... I think that’s a model for all of America, because historically, in general, most of America has missed the mark in not hearing the cries.” https://t.co/sEQwZEwE6d pic.twitter.com/bEtW8mqN0G— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 4, 2020
The NFL followed up their earlier posts with this Twitter thread on Thursday: